Lewis Hamilton catches his maiden pole at Suzuka with a track record
Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position tomorrow in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka International Racing Course. It’s his 71st F1 pole position in a career and the first ever at Suzuka, probably the most demanding circuit on the Formula 1 schedule. To take the pole, Hamilton has to brake a lap record of Michael Schumacher, setting a new fastest time of 1.27.345 on the 5.8 km long 18-turn track.
A driver of the #44 Mercedes will share the front row with the main championship rival Sebastian Vettel in the #5 Ferrari. Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was the second-fastest qualifier but he would serve a 5-place grid penalty which promoted Vettel from P3 to P2.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will share the second row on the starting grid, ahead of Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez. Bottas and Felipe Massa (Williams) will start from P7 and P8. Grid penalties of other drivers promoted Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) from P11 to P9 on the start, with Kimi Raikkonen next to him. Raikkonen was the sixth-fastest but penalty moved him to P10.